Michael Wise
Michael WiseCourtesy

Dr. Michael Wise is a founder and investor in numerous technology companies. He is a graduate of YU and holds a PhD .in Theoretical Physics from Brandeis U., is the author of Israel demography study (BESA).and has published numerous articles about Israel sovereignty and demographics in Judea and Samaria. [email protected]

What is the true population of Gaza? In the media today you hear remarkable exaggerations. 2 million. more than 2 million. 2.3 million. "Millions" of Arabs are trying to move from northern Gaza to southern Gaza. Egypt will not allow "millions" of Arabs to escape to the Sinai.

What is the truth? The number today is a maximum of 1.7 million.

In the ground breaking 2005 study, by the American Israel Demographic Group, presented to the Knesset and published by BESA, it was documented and concluded that there were a maximum of 1.1 million Arabs living in Gaza. At that time, the Palestinian Authority claimed that there were up to 2 million Arabs in Gaza. Remarkably, the two prominent alleged demographic experts Arnon Sofer from Haifa University and Sergio dela Pergola of the Hebrew University (who backed inflated Judea and Samaria Arab numbers as well, and for the same reasons, ed.) also concluded that the number was 2 million.

After multiple debates in the Knesset and at several Israeli think tanks, and after requests that they present their data analysis, they both admitted that they had no personal knowledge and never did independent research. They relied on the “professionalism” of the experts at the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). As we now well know, the PA sought to falsely justify Arafat’s long held threat that the Arab womb would vanquish the Jewish state.

Lo and behold, that threat has long passed. Jewish fertility in secular and haredi sectors has exceeded Arab fertility for several years. Jewish Aliya (immigration) and Arab emigration, has resulted in the current status that the Jewish population percentage has been increasing.

Remarkably, now 18 years later, the PA and many in the Israel and global media claim that there are still 2 million Arabs living in Gaza. An obvious admission after 18 years of PCBS claims of huge numbers of births and almost no deaths, the population has increased from two million to two million! In the past 20 years, it has been impossible to ascertain how many Arabs escaped from Gaza either through tunnels to the Egyptian Sinai or through the Rafah, Egyptian controlled crossing. It is highly doubtful that other than terrorists sent by Iran and others, that the population of Gaza has not been reduced by many residents escaping from Gaza. When Israel controlled the border crossings, we were able to document that about 11,000 escaped yearly from Gaza.

No doubt in the past 18 years as a consequence of 3 wars and the oppression of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror organizations, the exodus from Gaza has increased and our estimate of 1.7 million current inhabitants of Gaza is overstated!

In the midst of the current catastrophic environment why is it important to know the facts on the ground?

Israelis need to be familiar with the facts on the ground and not be overwhelmed by the incessant fake numbers broadcast by the PA, Hamas and the media. If there were 5,000,000 Arabs Israel would act one way, if there were 50,000 Arabs Israel would act another way. After the coming campaign Israel will once again have control over Gaza and will have accurate information without relying on the corrupt PA.

-If after the coming campaign there remain 1.6M Arabs, no one will be able to accuse Israel of having killed 400-700,000 Arabs.

-Egypt should know the magnitude of the potential number of "refugees".

-Additionally, it is important for Israelis to be aware of Israel’s positive demographic momentum due to growing Jewish fertility and increasing Aliyah.

Let’s hope in the coming months we will be able to verify the true size of a reduced population in Gaza.